There’s been a lot of buzz generated from Microsoft’s bid to buy Activision Blizzard for a whopping $68 billion, as that could easily strengthen both the company’s exclusive game base for Xbox consoles, as well as Xbox Game Pass’ growing library.
But there have been challenges as well, mainly from Sony, who argues that Call of Duty going to Xbox exclusively (despite Phil Spencer saying otherwise) could be bad for business. That and several regulators are arguing against the deal, and there’s word that legal challenges could arise as well, particularly with one challenging that the deal is simply being made to protect troubled Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.
There’s word that the deal could go through by mid-2023, but what if Sony, the regulators and the suits stop it from happening? What could take place if the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard acquisition doesn’t go through? Let’s take a look from all sides.
First off, Microsoft…would probably be fine. Granted, it’ll likely lose millions of dollars if it’s unable to acquire Activision Blizzard, as well as whatever legal fees it would have to pay. But it wouldn’t be the end of its story.
Now, granted, it would be out some big exclusives, as Activision Blizzard is home to some of the biggest game franchises throughout the world, including Call of Duty and Overwatch. But without them, Microsoft would be free up to look at other acquisitions down the road, similar to what it’s done with Bethesda last year and its many franchises. It could open the door to acquiring a potential Japanese game publisher to help boost Xbox sales on that market, such as Konami or Sega or perhaps even Capcom, if it shows enough initiative. However, that’s a long shot, considering how much it’s spending trying to get Activision Blizzard.
That said, some gaming types may never see Microsoft as the same company again if the deal falls through, since Phil and the Xbox team have shown so much prowess trying to get the deal done. Will Xbox continue to sell? Of course. But the company might have to change to an interesting course if it can’t get Activision Blizzard in its ranks.
Sony is already taking a bad rap for continuously talking with EU regulators about the “badness” of the Activision Blizzard deal, in spite of the fact that Phil Spencer has noted that a recent 10- year deal was offered to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. For that matter, it didn’t look like the franchise would go anywhere anyway, considering how well it sells on that platform.
But if the deal doesn’t go through, it could allow Sony to develop a rather inflated ego in the industry. That means it could believe it has the power to pretty much define game rules as it sees fit, turning to regulators if even the slightest acquisition goes wrong. While doing this, it could continue to pick up studios like Insomniac and Bungie to work on its own first party library.
This is a problem, because Sony has already developed a bad reputation with fans. Aside from the Activision Blizzard complaints, it hosed some gamers with its limited edition version of The Last of Us Part I being damaged; hardly any notice given about games on its PlayStation Plus Essential service; and possibly developing a not-needed remake of Horizon Zero Dawn, which already runs fine on the PS5.
Needless to say, Sony should probably calm down on the deal and work on its own reputation in the game industry. If it wins the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard squabble, it could develop into something much bigger for them. And that means possible bad news for the gamers in 2023.
Now here’s the most problematic party in the deal. Activision Blizzard hasn’t been struggling in terms of sales, as Call of Duty and other franchises continue to be best sellers. However, it’s one of the most hated game companies out there, mainly due to its string of sexual harassment complaints, as well as Kotick’s generally bad attitude towards employees and studios.
The Microsoft/Activision Blizzard deal, if it does go through, would provide Kotick an exit with a lofty bonus. However, if it falls through, he’ll likely stay put, and the company’s attitude would likely take a negative turn, with more employees either leaving or possibly forming unions, as Raven Studios recently just did. He could also have more of a legal stranglehold over the company, especially with its cash flow being its own again.
So if the deal didn’t happen, Activision Blizzard would likely continue keeping the status quo. And considering how many people are fearful of what they’ve done in the past, that doesn’t exactly paint a rosy picture for the future.
Now, do keep in mind this is just a general worst-case-scenario if the deal doesn’t go through. More than likely, it will, despite the complaints and lawsuits and such. Now that would be an interesting outlook in its own right, especially when it comes to the future of Call of Duty.
Guess we’ll see what we’ll see.
Want to win a game console of your choice this holiday season? Because we’re giving one away!